Why Get a Home Inspection?
There are many reasons to get a home inspection. The home inspector is working for you. He always has your best interest in mind. Others might also but they are not trained and licensed in the profession of home inspection. Would you have your gardener or your postal carrier advise you about buying a car or a dentist about a knee surgery? They both drive and likely own cars… Your dentist is knowledgeable about physiology, but they are not professional experts in cars or knees. While your Realtor is in the business of homes, and knows a lot about them from a certain perspective, they are not a professional expert in home inspections. Also your uncle Ted, who was a contractor or once built a deck off the back, is not a professional expert Home Inspector either. In Arizona home inspectors are bound by law and a code of ethics to remain impartial and tell it like it is. The way “it is” is explained and conveyed in the report however can vary widely. This is where personality and experience come into play and this is when Choosing an Inspection Company becomes important.
New Home Inspections in Phoenix+
Since the housing crash all the skilled labor that was at one time plentiful is now gone. Builders are desperate to fill the void and they cannot. Even in the best of times many mistakes are made and not caught during the course of construction. Houses without attic insulation, HVAC ductwork not run or run and not hooked up, wiring mistakes, the list goes on. There is a huge skilled labor vacuum that is going to take a long time to fill and in the meantime new home buyers are the guinea pigs in this “Brave New World”.
Consider this: There was a time when on any given tract there were at least 30 homes being built (at times when I was a site super I had over 90 homes going at once), at various stages of construction, simultaneously. That is the situation builders in the metro Phoenix area will be facing again very soon. How much time do you think that the field supervisor or the site superintendent got to spend in each home every day? 10 minutes, maybe? 15 minutes? Probably not that much time, not every day. That would be 7.5 hours per day just walking houses and trying to catch everything that might have been overlooked by a subcontractor. That doesn’t take into account time he has to spend walking with city code enforcement inspectors, time in the office scheduling the trades, time with buyers going over options, time spent putting out fires, time in meetings, time on site safety training…you get the picture. In a best-case scenario, the builder is spending less than 10 hours of actual time in and on a house during a typical 4-month building schedule. They do have a responsibility to the buyer to deliver a quality product but bear in mind the builder is in the business of selling homes and making a profit first and foremost, they are more motivated by that than anything else. The bar gets lowered very quickly especially when buyers are wowed by incentives, in-house financing, special interest rates and countless other teasers.
GET YOUR NEW HOME INSPECTED!+
And get a 1 year warranty inspection so that anything and everything broken, wrong or deficient can be fixed by the builder, providing they are still in business in year. Over 60% of builders that were in business in 2005 are no longer in business.
“What about the building inspectors from the city?” you say. Their interest lies with code enforcement to the extent that they do not want to get sued for faulty construction that is dangerous. The various municipalities are responsible for reviewing and approving plans and then making sure those plans are adhered to in the field. The municipalities’ requirements vary widely from one to another. The UBC (Universal Building Code) or the IBC (International Building Code) is the guideline they use but there is little uniformity outside of that. There is no danger in no insulation or an HVAC duct not hooked up. There is also no code violation for such oversights. The cities are in it to collect the permit fees and stay out of court. They are not interested in your interests. Additionally, they rarely get in the attic and they NEVER get on the roof. It is not in their scope of responsibility to check if the sinks work, if drains leak, if cabinet drawers open and close or if all the outlets work, if there are broken or damaged windows… Trust me, I know. I have built over 1000 homes and I have seen it first hand more times than I can count.
Re-Sale Home Inspections in Phoenix+
Resale homes opens the discussion to a much broader topic with far more variables. There is no Earthly reason not to get a home inspection done on any prospective purchase. The risks associated with skipping this step are far too great. Sellers are in a unique position of knowing everything about the home they are selling or nothing about it. It is up to them and them alone as to whether they will disclose that information to a buyer. The SPDS is filled out basically on the honor system. The need for a home inspection increases geometrically when you are talking about investor “Fix and Flips”. The seller is required to disclose nothing because often they literally have never set foot in the house. Rarely if ever are permits pulled or city inspections done. The normal “upgrades” that are done, especially on homes over 10 years old, are kitchen and bath changes like re-facing cabinets, new countertops, new doors and hardware, paint and lighting. Most of these changes require at least some wiring and plumbing work. In older homes (30 to 60 years or older) electrical and plumbing modifications can be extensive, again with no oversight. An experienced licensed home inspector is quite literally a buyers best and only defense in preventing getting into a home that could become a money pit.
It should be stressed that most homes are in good condition with only a few issues that require the attention of the seller before change of ownership takes place. Typical items in a home inspection report are roof repairs, HVAC system issues, wear and tear items, paint and exterior trim problems and other age or neglect based things. Even so, you have to know what to look for and where to look for it. Most things are not readily visible to the untrained eye.